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Momentous day for GB Railfreight as first Class 66 locos arrive on UK soil
Today, GB Railfreight welcomed the arrival of the first batch of its new Class 66 locomotives from the U.S. into the Port of Newport. They represent the first batch of an order of 21 Class 66s from Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) and are part of the company’s largest ever investment in new locomotives. The next two batches will be arriving on UK shores over the next six months.
The five locomotives arrived at the Port at 2200 on Thursday, July 10th, before being unloaded and coupled together again at 0800 on the morning of Friday, July 11th. This process should last between two to three days, after which they will then be transported to EMD’s maintenance depot in Doncaster.
The purchase of 21 Class 66 diesel locomotives will take GB Railfreight’s current Class 66 fleet to 71. They have been secured ahead of the change in EU emissions legislation which, from January 2015, sees new regulations coming into force that could impact the ability to obtain compliant and affordable locomotives.
The company hopes this procurement drive will assist in doubling turnover over the next three years, supporting the creation of more jobs and encouraging growth into new freight sectors.
John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said: “Today is a momentous day for GB Railfreight. This first batch is five of 21 new Class 66 locomotives that will be arriving at the Port of Newport over the next 9-12 months.
As a company, we have had an exceptional year. These locomotives will allow us to grow our business further in 2015 and continue to provide our customers with the optimum level of service, signifying the confidence we have in the development of the UK rail freight sector and helping us keep the UK economy moving.
We have been working closely with EMD on this project and I want to thank them for all their hard work and dedication in reaching this point. We hope to continue this relationship throughout the rest of the manufacturing and delivery process.”
Billy Ainsworth, Progress Rail and EMD President and Chief Executive Officer, said:
“I am extremely pleased that after an exhaustive search of different options available, GBRf selected the EMD Class 66 locomotive as it provides optimal product life cycle cost through its durability, reliability and sustainability. GBRf’s decision reinforces EMD’s position as the leading locomotive provider in the markets we serve”.